Similarities and Differences with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

Since I have been both a Boy Scout leader and a Girl Scout leader for some years, people ask me about the similarities and differences with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.  This is especially useful information for someone that is an experienced leader in one of these and a new leader in the other.

Organizational Structure

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the United States have similar organizational structures.  For both, most people are familiar with the local units.  For Boy Scouts, this could be a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, or Venture Crew, depending on the ages involved.  For Girl Scouts, the unit is always a Girl Scout Troop.  Cub Scout Packs are usually large groups (maybe 50 boys) subdivided into Dens (ideally about 8 boys each) by school grade levels.  Boy Scout Troops are also usually large groups (again, maybe about 50 boys) subdivided into Patrols (again, ideally about 8 boys each).  Girl Scout Troops vary widely in size, often larger than a Cub Scout Den or Boy Scout Patrol, but usually smaller than a Cub Scout Pack or Boy Scout Troop.  Girl Scout Troops may be subdivided into patrols, but very few are.

One major difference between Boy Scout units and Girl Scout Troops is in how they handle membership.  Boy Scout units exist indepdent of their members, with new youth joining and older youth leaving every year.  So, for example, a Boy Scout troop always welcomes and tries to maintain boys of all ages between 10 and 17.  Girl Scout troops start with a group of girls, usually of about the same age and grade level, and keep them together all the way from kindergarten through high school.  Of course, some girls may join or leave the troop, but that group of girls stays together until they graduate high school, and then the troop retires.

(To be continued…)